ESPN1stTake: Are Miami Heat Fans Bandwagon Fans?

By Jim Liao
Jim Liao
Jim Liao
June 23, 2014 Updated: June 23, 2014

On ESPN First Take, host Cari Champion decided to do a little test to determine whether passerby Heat fans are “true” Miami Heat fans.

To carry out the test, Cari shows fans pictures of former standout Miami Heat players. The reasoning is that true Heat fans — by having followed the team for some time, would be able to recognize these older players without any problems. Meanwhile, bandwagoners who just recently started rooting for the team, most implicitly when the Miami Heat Big 3 was formed in 2010, would be unable to name the players.

Among the players shown are Eddie Jones, Rony Seikaly, Glen Rice, Harold Minor, and one of the most prominent players in Heat franchise history, Tim Hardaway.

Nobody in the video was able to name any of the players, though does that make them bandwagon fans? We offer a few points of consideration.

  1. Many fans are from a younger generation. Some of these players may be before their time. If a fan is up to date with the team since they started watching, you can’t say that this fan isn’t doing due diligence if they’ve always stayed loyal to the same team. 
  2. So the question becomes, does being a “real fan” correlate with knowing the team’s history? Some people are more interested in the ‘here and now’ then a team’s history that was again, before their time.
  3. If you agree that knowledge of history is required to be a true fan, what is the depth of knowledge that you must have? For instance, Hardaway and Glen Rice were standout NBA players that could be recognized by any NBA fan. Meanwhile, Rony Seikaly and Harold Minor were both players that played for the Heat around 25 years ago, and though impressive players, they were never heavily accoladed. For instance, neither player was ever named an NBA All Star. Yes, Minor did win awards such as Slam Dunk Titles, but if a modern fan simply brushed up on their team’s history, it’s debatable whether they would be able to instantly recognize these players.
Jim Liao